Creating a document means creating content. That is what really matters. With TOP Docs nobody has to waste time with document formats anymore. TOP Docs is a real documents collaboration tool for mobile and web. And because two brains think better than one, this app allows us to share files and ideas with others on the go. All the cloud accounts connected.
Do you remember the old school typing machines? The cool thing about them was that all one cared about was the content. We were not able to choose the format we wanted to save it in. It was pretty much just a black text on a white paper. No doc, docx, rtf, odt and all that fancy stuff.
With computers, smartphones and tablets come a wider scale of customer´s preferences. For instance, we can now decide whether we prefer MS Word Documents or Google Docs to create documents. This kind of variable cloud system options can bring up some difficulties when formatting the documents.
From time to time, you might want to work on the same file with a friend or a colleague. Now there is no need for you to care about which format to use or app to instal to do so. TOP Docs supports all the clouds, because the goal is to make collaboration, doesn’t matter who works on what. All that matters is the content.
How it started
Like most of the startup ideas, TOP Docs started by finding a solution for a problem. In this case, the problem arose 3 years ago when Nelson Pereira, one of the cofounders, realized it was difficult to use tablets or smartphones to either create documents or share the ones created previously on the computer. He was always dealing with missing tools or software compatibility issues when trying to make the format work. So along with Miguel Jesus, they made a lot of research on how to make it work and when they didn’t see many right solutions, they decided to do it themselves.
“What really pushed us into the project in the first place was that we really believed in it. We saw many issues with document formats and we were both really into User interface design. The only problem was that we were both designers. The big challenge in the beginning was to get people on board, especially engineers. This was tough since people were a bit skeptical about the whole idea, they thought we wouldn’t make it.”
Nelson and Miguel had some pretty rough days in the very beginning. The biggest struggle was to find people who shared the same dream, those that wouldn’t be just regular employees working for them part-time. At the end, they found the right people that helped them work on a MVP. And the sunny days started again. They got traction, many downloads and realised this was something that people really wanted.
It got real
“I think we started taking it very seriously in 2014, when we got into Rockstart Acceleration program in Amsterdam. We quit our jobs and focused mainly on TOP Docs. In Amsterdam, we learned so much. Before, we knew how to build sites and apps, but there we learned a lot especially from the business side. We developed a great network and later went to Silicon Valley for a month. After that visit, we had no doubts about the great potential of TOP Docs – we visited Google and Dropbox and they really believed in our idea!”
To make TOP Docs work, it requires a lot of hard work and a lot of demand on the technical side. They decided to build the product in Portugal and got investment from Portugal Ventures in December 2014. The team keeps growing, there are now 9 people on board and they are still hiring.
New downloads keep popping every day. The biggest number of users of TOP Docs is currently in the USA and there is a big market in Latin America, Spain and Portugal. If everything goes as planned, TOP Docs will reach around 800 thousand to 1 million downloads by the end of 2015. The product is still improving and there are new tools being developed. Once the product is ready, they want to go to the United States and set up a stable company there.
The motivation comes from the feedback
Throughout the journey, there have been many ups and downs. There were times when money was running low and they just wanted to get regular jobs… But you wouldn’t believe how much one positive e-mail can change the motivation! They are willing to work hard just to see the feedback.
“Once we received an email from a blind user saying – “Thank you for making this app useful for me.” – He also made some suggestions to improve the app. These may seem like small things, but we really can impact people’s lives a bit.”
Nelson and Miguel believe that when one builds a startup, he must stay true to himself. That’s how TOP Docs surpassed all the challenges so far, and created something that turns a nightmare in a pleasant experience. Now it is up to you to use different clouds with no boundaries!